ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

The Northeast Alabama man shot by security at the entrance of the Jackson County Courthouse in September after he tried to enter with a gun is now recovering at home.

Fred Swearengin, 72, of the Letcher community, was hospitalized after being shot Sept. 18 when he tried to enter the courthouse with a gun and allegedly drew his weapon when confronted by two officers who were manning the metal detector at the building's main entrance. Swearengin was publicly identified a few days later while still hospitalized. He has not been charged.

Jackson County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Rocky Harnen said Tuesday that Swearengin has been released from the hospital and is recovering at home, though he's still making frequent doctor visits.

Harnen said Swearengin is not considered a flight risk and will be charged when he's well enough to be incarcerated without needing too many more trips to the doctor, which could begin costing the county money.

Jackson County District Attorney Jason Pierce declined comment on the situation when his office was contacted Tuesday.

Meanwhile, state agencies are leading the investigation but no new information has been released.

Authorities haven't said what weapon Swearengin was carrying, but he allegedly had a handgun in a holster on his belt with a full magazine and a round in the chamber, and four more loaded magazines in his pockets, officials said.

The Alabama State Bureau of Investigation has custody of security video from surveillance cameras at the courthouse entrance, officials said.

The two officers involved the incident returned to their posts at the courthouse entrance in September, according to officials.

The last known shooting at the Jackson County Courthouse happened May 31, 2006, according to Times Free Press archives. That was when then-49-year-old John Christopher Lee Sr. shot down a 26-year-old father and 45-year-old grandmother of children who were at the center of a custody battle. Lee was the children's stepgrandfather. He was sentenced to two life terms in prison on two counts of attempted first-degree murder.

Contact Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton or at www.facebook.com/benbenton1.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT